Meadow Lake Progress, Sunday August 24, 2008
Orchard wins Liberal nomination
By Jennifer Blake
On August 14, in a vote to nominate the Liberal
candidate for Saskatchewan's northernmost federal
riding, David Orchard won decisively. He surpassed
former candidate Joan Beatty, who was appointed by
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion in March.
Orchard said while the process to end up where he is
today was a long one, it has been positive for himself
and for northern Saskatchewan.
"John Dorion and I were out selling memberships when
the process began a year ago," he said following his
"It was all set aside when Joan Beatty's appointment
was made. There were a lot of people upset. Then Joan
lost the election and the party agreed to be fair and go
ahead with the democratic process."
The next thing Orchard did was fight for multiple
"In the end we got 10 polling stations," he said.
"We wanted one in Ile a la Crosse though, because
people from La Loche had to travel to Canoe or Meadow
Lake to vote."
Even without a station in Ile a la Crosse, Orchard
said the voter turnout was better than expected.
"People responded with vigor," he said.
"Some people who were not even registered to vote
came. I don't think there has been this kind of response
Since his victory, Orchard said he has been just as
astounded by the overwhelming response.
"I have taken hundreds of messages congratulating me,
it is hard to keep up. I've heard from the party leader,
former leaders and ordinary people. I heard from a
farmer in BC who said he has been depressed by the
government but now he is becoming optimistic."
He added that the people of northern Saskatchewan
deserve a fair democratic process, and they clearly
"People in the north want to participate and they
have been taken for granted," he said.
"I want to try to break open from that. There are
lives at stake."
Now that he is the Liberal candidate, Orchard said he
is focusing on the future, and he has a lot to work on.
"Northern Saskatchewan is one of the richest areas of
the country, yet there is a high unemployment rate," he
"There is poverty, poor roads and to me that is
unacceptable. There is a disconnect between the riches
and what people are getting."
In addition, Orchard said he wants to focus on
"I heard of the two-mouth fish in the Athabasca
system, and that worries me. I don't want to see that
kind of thing for northern Saskatchewan. There needs to
be sustainable development that does not destroy our
He also said he would like there to someday be a
national park in the north of the province; a place that
could preserve and protect the beauty of the area.
According to a press release from August 19, Orchard
is an organic farmer and one of the pioneers of organic
farming in Saskatchewan. He farms in both Borden and in
Choiceland. He is the author of the best-selling book,
The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to
American Expansionism and prior to joining the Liberal
Party in 2005, he ran twice for the leadership of the
former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. In
2006, Orchard supported the candidacy of Stephane Dion,
and brought to him 150 delegates.
Orchard has roots in the Desnethé riding where he
farms the land once owned by his maternal grandfather.
He has had decades of contact with the First Nation and
Metis people of the area and across Saskatchewan.
Orchard said he wants to thank all those who
participated in the nomination process, both by taking a
membership and then taking part in the vote itself.
He added that he looks forward to touring the riding
to say thank you and to begin the campaign for the next